Indian immigrants rethink the American dream

“We built our dream home, which he painted, as well as installed the garage door,” wrote Sunayana Dumala. “Doing any kind of work on his home gave him immense joy. of which was the home of which he had built … for us as well as any kids we would likely have. (of which was) our first step to starting our family.

“of which’s so unfortunate of which of which dream of ours is actually right now shattered.”

My heart broke when I read her words.

of which was the American dream she was talking about. The ideal of which everyone in of which country has an equal opportunity to achieve success as well as prosperity. Many Indians hail through humble beginnings in their homeland as well as live by one decree: Work hard because in America, you can be what you want to be.

My own family shared the dream as well as when I graduated through college, my father told me to think big. He knew what I had not fully realized yet; of which as an Indian woman, the doors to achievement were wider in of which country than in my homeland — as well as perhaps anywhere else.

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yet right now, under attack because of their identity, Indians see the dream fading.

Kuchibhotla was a young engineer through Hyderabad as well as came to the United States for a not bad job. He was having a beer that has a friend near his home in Olathe when the shooter approached him, told him to “Get out of my country” as well as gunned him down.

A few days later, another Indian man, Deep Rai, was shot outside his home in Kent, Washington. His attacker yelled: “Go back to your country.” Rai is actually required to recover.

The FBI is actually investigating both incidents as hate crimes.

The South Asian or “desi” diaspora reacted with obvious horror. What’s been called a “wave of anti-Indian sentiment” has dominated the news in India as well as added to fear of which was already simmering after the 2016 election as well as rhetoric against immigrants.

“I can tell you a majority of Indian parents … want their children back in India,” said Mithra Amaran, who also lives in Olathe.

Amaran has spent 35 years inside the United States. She told me she fears for the lives of her sons, both born as well as raised in of which country. Her younger son works in Mexico, as well as Amaran feels he is actually safer in Guadalajara than in Kansas.

“They are young brown people as well as I worry about them constantly,” she said.

When I went home to Kolkata last December, I heard friends as well as family talk about how happy they were to have returned home. Or relieved of which a son or daughter had chosen a college in Europe or the Middle East, instead of America.

Author Sandip Roy, also a native Kolkatan, wrote recently inside the brand-new York Times of which Indians no longer hold the aspiration of finding success in America. One reason is actually of which India has experienced tremendous economic growth as well as opened up to the globe. yet another is actually a diminished image of the United States.

Roy mentioned a friend’s cousin’s wedding of which was called off because the bride did not want to move with the groom to America. A while ago, I might have read of which with utter incredulity. In my youth, a man settled in America was a prized catch. Very little else mattered for my girlfriends. Life would likely be set if they could find a husband like of which.

I hadn’t before heard Indians voice these distressing concerns. Dumala, inside the same Facebook post, said of which of which way:

“Do we belong?” she asked. “is actually of which the same country we dreamed of as well as is actually of which still secure to raise our families as well as children here?”

Sikhs still victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes
Srinivas Kuchibhotla as well as Sunayana Dumala dreamed of building a prosperous life in Kansas. of which dream was tragically shattered.

A vanishing dream?

Dumala’s words gave me pause for thought. I desire her question serves as a much-needed wake-up call for a community of which has not always been totally honest in looking inward.

For too long, Indian-Americans have subscribed to the notion of the “style minority” immune through racism. As successful entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, professors as well as techies, they live in comfortable middle-class white neighborhoods as well as focus on getting their kids into Harvard as well as Yale.

Even though the government used to categorize us as “additional,” not all Indians saw themselves as such. of which, despite the long history of racism as well as xenophobia in of which country of which sometimes targeted Indians.

“of which’s a huge problem,” said journalist as well as educator Rajul Punjabi, 32. “of which’s something of which’s not talked about at all. right now for initially Indians are thinking about race as well as what black people went through in of which country.”

Socioeconomic status, Punjabi told me, can brainwash someone to thinking their skin colour does not matter.

Another journalist, Jennifer Chowdhury, 33, told me she has wondered her whole life why Indians identify with white people. Chowdhury was born to undocumented Bangladeshi parents who worked as waiters as well as housekeepers in brand-new York as well as were not part of the “style minority” world.

If South Asians spoke to each additional across class lines, she believes, “none of of which would likely be such a shock.”

Marketing professor as well as blogger Gaurav Sabnis, 36, added of which Indians may be guilty themselves of a bit of xenophobia.

“We don’t like of which when we are confused with Arabs or people through Muslim countries,” he told me. “We do consider ourselves quasi white.”

A lost history of immigration
Vaishno Das Bagai arrived in San Francisco in 1915 with his wife as well as three sons.

Dark clouds

of which is actually certainly not the first wave of anti-Indian sentiment in America.

Indians began arriving on these shores, primarily in California, inside the 19th century, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Back then Indians were second-class citizens in their own British-occupied country. Most who set sail for America were uneducated as well as unskilled as well as found jobs working crops as well as farms.

Vaishno Das Bagai was one of them, though he was different through his counterparts. He arrived in San Francisco in 1915 with his wife as well as three young sons, one of the first Indians to emigrate with his family. He came because he said he wanted to be free of slavery.

He ran a general store, dressed dapperly in American suits as well as was naturalized in 1921. yet in 1923, the Supreme Court ruled Indians were not white as well as therefore ineligible for citizenship under the law. Bagai had already renounced his British citizenship; reapplying would likely mean certain arrest because of his activism for independence.

Bagai became a persona non grata as well as was subjected to alien laws of which, among additional things, barred him through owning property. He was forced to sell both his business as well as his home. The final insult came when, without a passport, he could not visit India. Disappointed as well as humiliated at age 37, Bagai gassed himself to death in a San Jose hotel room.

By then, the Immigration Acts of 1917 as well as 1924 had effectively banned Asians through entering the United States as well as virtually ended Indian migration.

of which wasn’t until President Harry Truman signed the Luce-Celler bill as part of the Immigration Act of 1946 of which Indians could again gain citizenship, own property as well as vote. The act also established a quota: 100 Indians would likely be allowed into America every year.

Two decades later, the 1965 Immigration Act opened the way for Indians, including my parents, to settle in America. The act removed country-specific criteria on immigration as well as put all prospective newcomers on equal footing for access to the United States.

In 1960, only 12,000 Indian immigrants lived in of which country. Today, of which number has grown to more than 2.4 million. as well as of which’s not counting people who arrive with temporary work visas; of which’s estimated of which 70% of the 85,000 H1B visas handed out annually to highly skilled workers go to Indians.

Nationality, identity as well as the Pledge of Allegiance
Indians celebrate their heritage as well as culture inside the India Day parade in brand-new York. Some are right now questioning whether they still belong in America.

Where ‘we all count equally’

The shootings in Kansas as well as Washington are dark clouds looming over the dream at the moment. Kuchibhotla’s life was ended by a man who allegedly did not want him here. His widow said of which as difficult as of which would likely be for her, she would likely return to Kansas after the funeral to fulfill her husband’s dream. I desire her actions will help additional Indians to be less fearful.

of which week, I thought a lot about the Indians who were pioneering immigrants. Vaishno Das Bagai ended his life because he felt he failed at realizing his American dream. He didn’t live to see a place where Indians had finally achieved a status additional than “additional.”

I thought, too, about what we can do to protect the American dream.

I sought an answer through Bagai’s granddaughter.

Rani Cardona is actually 61 as well as identifies as a half-Indian girl (her father married a white woman) who was raised in a Jewish neighborhood in Los Angeles as well as who married a fourth-generation Latino through Watts yet lived in Koreatown.

“America stood for something once. as well as we should still stand for of which,” she told me.

“of which is actually the one damn place inside the globe where we take a stand as well as say: We all count equally.”

She laughed at the idea of the Supreme Court deciding only white people could be citizens, thinking how much America has progressed since the days when black people had no rights as well as brown people had few.

“I thought how far we’ve come through being afraid of ‘Hindoos’ as well as putting Japanese in internment camps,” Cardona said.

“Our different backgrounds as well as points of view are indeed our assets. Those who seek a life of exclusion, fear differences, or insist on seeing life through a conventional lens of frozen tradition are missing out.”

Her words resonated. To me, she personifies the immigrant dream. I felt sure her grandfather would likely be proud.

Indian immigrants rethink the American dream

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